Cycling: The world record must be broken to get the gold medal

Cycling: The world record must be broken to get the gold medal

When the British cycling team, in the 4-kilometre team pursuit sport, broke the world record twice in one day to win gold at the Rio Olympics five years ago, it looked as if the crossbar had crossed the limit.

The quartet of Ed Clancy, Owen Doll, Stephen Burke and Bradley Wiggins clocked 3:50,265 to beat Australia to give the United Kingdom its third consecutive Olympic gold.

The victory mark was 1.4 seconds faster than the previous world record set in London 2012, and that makes what has happened since then all the more surprising.

Australia was the first to raise its ceiling in team cycling, lowering the world record to 3:49.80 and then to 3:48.01 in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Then came the Danes. At the 2020 World Championships in Berlin, the Danish team not only broke the record, but destroyed it three times in two days before taking the gold medal.

By the time Lacey Norman Hansen, Julius Johansen, Fredrik Rodenberg and Rasmus Pedersen finished off, the new top mark in the blue bike race had turned 3:44.67.

The UK women’s world record of 4:10,236 set at the 2016 Olympics, when they dropped the mark three times, still holds, but this week at the Ezo Olympic circuit, a new mark could be broken.

Ed Clancy, who is chasing a fourth Olympic gold medalist in the team pursuit, admits Denmark changed the game.

But to keep the crown, the UK must be able to fall back at least seven seconds from the mark it got in Berlin last year.

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